I imagine we want that first look to do something. To create some fireworks. To cause a spark. We want to be loved for our bodies or our faces or our smiles. We try to hide pale skin with visits to the tanning bed, wrinkles with specialty creams and soft parts of our skin with slimming attire or the morning-after pain of a couple hours at the gym.
No matter what we do - the image is the hardest thing for us to love about ourselves. If it wasn't - we'd spend every day in absolute bliss - catching glimpses of ourselves in the mirror and just having to take a second look. "How you doin'" we'd say to ourselves before taking ourselves out for a drink or even a carb indulgent dinner...
When I'm feeling particularly pensive and even a bit - lonely - I search for some sort of soundtrack to keep me from falling into a pint of ice cream...and sometimes I even do that.
Tonight, I slipped on Etta James' "Blue Gardenia" and as I searched through a row of CDs for it, I thought, this is what I want to be loved for. The fact that I own this CD. Unusual, for a 26-year-old girl in a small town in the Midwest. When I look around my apartment - besides clutter - I see books. Several of them I haven't even read yet. I suppose I'm keeping them for a rainy day. They're piled up in the corner of end tables, set out on the coffee table, in my bedroom, on the kitchen counter. And they're quite simply - not enough. My burgeoning CD collection, my DVD's which include several foreign films - aren't enough. I'll always want more. This is what I want to be loved for.
I put strings and strings of twinkle lights up in my apartment because not only are they cheaper than lamps - they are a sense of something I never had growing up. I don't have memories stored in my mind of my dad trudging out in the cold, autumn air to hang lights from the house. Jews don't hang lights - but this Jew does. This is what I want to be loved for.
I cook well - but only with someone to cook for. So a peek in my freezer will find frozen pizzas and a peek in my fridge will find lettuce, cheese, bagels and yogurt. When I shop at the grocery store, I often find that I'll look down into my basket and feel so sickeningly single. But given the chance, I can make one hell of a meal. This I want to be loved for.
I never make my bed. I despise laundry. I love soft blankets, black clothes and the big wooden tables at Barnes & Noble. I like the sound of a pick against a guitar string, thick, soft socks and candles.
And I try hard - to change my image - in spite of everything I've just said. Which makes me ironic...and quite neurotic. Which I also want to be loved for.
Because we love those things about ourselves. You know we do. When nobody asks us, we tell ourselves how much we love those little bits and pieces of intimate fact.
These are things that you can't try hard enough to make someone else see. They just have to see them for themselves.